Tod’s Point or Greenwich Point, depending on your name preference, is a favorite location IN Greenwich year round! While Summer includes the height of visitors, thousands of residents and non-residents enjoy Tod’s Point during the winter, especially when the temperatures peak (i.e. that January 2020 weekend with 70 degree weather) and since resident or guest Beach Passes are not needed until May 1st.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do at Greenwich Point in the winter (in no particular order) but let us know if we’re missing any. Be sure to read a note from Larry Imbrogno, one of our Greenwich Point caretakers, below. It’s important to respect the Point, the animals that live there and fellow visitors to ensure everyone has a great and safe experience.
*Please note that this was written before the raccoon distemper outbreak*
IN Greenwich’s Top Things to Do at Tod’s Point in the Winter
1. Enjoy Free Programs
Many organizations provide free programs at the Innis Arden Cottage during the winter (and the other seasons). Bruce Museum hosts the Fred Elser First Sunday Science program on the first Sunday or every month, more info here: https://brucemuseum.org/site/education_detail/seaside_center. An expert covers a scientific topic and there are family activities that happen then as well.
Friends of Greenwich Point sponsor educational programs such as winter animal visits from the Stamford Museum and Nature Center and a St. Patrick’s music visit from the Murtha’s. This year it is on Sunday, March 15, 2:00-3:00 pm at the Innis Arden Cottage, more info here: https://www.friendsofgreenwichpoint.org/st-patricks-day-in-song
2. Bring your dog to the beach*
From December 1st through March 31st, Greenwich Point visitors can bring their dogs to the beach. All dogs must remain on a leash in the hands of an adult throughout the park. Technically they can be off leash below the mean high water mark (i.e. the wet sand) so it is a fun opportunity for well behaved dogs to run off the leash when the tide permits. It is a special opportunity to have our furry friends enjoy Tod’s Point with us, so make sure to follow the rules so we can keep Dog Days going. Here’s more info and specific rules: https://greenwichfreepress.com/police-fire/dog-season-starts-dec-1-at-tods-point-keep-your-dog-on-a-leash-115666/
*As of February 22, 2020 Greenwich Point Park was closed to all dogs due to sick raccoons. Read more from the Town of Greenwich here: https://www.greenwichct.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=586
There are relics throughout the Tod’s Mansion area, you just have to explore it to find them.
The Seaside Garden is beautiful year-round, but particularly serene in the winter, especially after a snowfall.
If you walk through the trails just east of the clambake area, you can see what were sand traps that were part of the nine-hole golf course that Mr. Tod installed in 1899.
There’s a large concrete foundation in the woods by the mansion site that can only be seen this time of year. If anyone knows what it might be, then please let us know.
Holly Grove bird watching is great in the winter, but more about bird watching below.
RIP to the goose tree. One of our favorite things to spy in the winter was an unusual tree on the inside path around Eagle Pond that looked like a goose head. It fell down at the beginning of this winter but if anyone finds similar fun items to spy please let us know.
Take a load off and rest on any of the many benches throughout the Park. The best seat there may be the Adirondack chairs that are beyond the beaches, on the bluff facing Manhattan. It’s much more feasible to find an open seat there during the winter.
5. Safe Roads Sundays
Friends of Greenwich Point sponsors Safe Roads Sundays mid November through mid April where there are no vehicles* at Greenwich Point (past the main parking lots). It’s perfect for walking, cycling, running, for beginner biking, strollers, walking dogs, scooters and skate boards, etc.
*Keep in mind that the following vehicles are permitted during Safe Roads Sundays: handicap stickers, caretaker family, police and animal control.
6. Run into extra fun visitors
Often you’ll run into friends who are also enjoying the Point in the winter but it’s extra fun to see:
- Cadillac Santa before or on Christmas Day
- Blaze and his horse and carriage
- Kite surfers who brave the cold temps
- Those willing to freeze in the cold water for the January 1st Polar Bear Plunge
- Seals! This is a particularly fun visitor to spy, if you’re lucky enough.
7. Bird watching
Wild Wings and Friends of Greenwich Point partner to offer a free year-round, monthly bird walk on the first Sunday of every month providing friendly and informative birding. Expert guides lead these walks throughout the Point. For more info visit here: https://www.friendsofgreenwichpoint.org/first-sunday-bird-walks
Whether you join in on the first Sunday Bird Walk or not, bird watching is incredible at Greenwich Point. The Holly Grove is a perfect place to spy different types of birds, including the great horned owl. The saw whet owl often hangs in one of the sand dunes by the beach.
You are lucky if you have spied the Bald Eagle that at times visits close to the entrance of Tod’s Point.
8. Go Shellfishing
Recreational shellfish beds at Greenwich Point are open from mid-October through May, so you can go clamming and find oysters & mussels.
It is our opinion that the most magical time to visit Tod’s Point is during or immediately after snowfall. You can use snow boots, snowshoes, even skis to travel around the park and beach.
When you think about it, what better hill is there in town to sled down then the hill by Founder’s Rock? We haven’t tried this yet but Caretaker Larry Imbrogno has and he says that his kids love it.
10. Spying Animals
We mentioned spying seals and birds above, but there are so many animals that make Greenwich Point their home. Great horned owls, raccoons*, mink, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, eastern gray squirrels, song sparrows, coyotes, eastern cottontail rabbits and more.
*As mentioned above, since writing this piece there was a distemper outbreak amongst Greenwich Point raccoons in February. While many died or were so sick that they needed to be put down, on Sunday, February 23rd we located our raccoon “friend” who we’ve named Rocky in his tree off of Eagle Pond, looking good. As usual we called to him and he poked his head out of his same old tree spot for a few minutes before going back in. Hopefully that’s a sign that not all the raccoons there were affected by the outbreak.
A Note from Greenwich Point Caretaker, Larry Imbrogno
Some thoughts on how to respect Greenwich Point and stay safe, from Larry:
- Please stay out of the sand dunes. They are a protected site with sensitive wildlife.
- Be courteous to other people with your dog while on the beach. (Small children can be frightened by dogs running up to them)
- Speaking of dogs, clean up after your dog and keep them on a leash.
- If someone has to leave a vehicle overnight for whatever reason please find Larry or leave a note on the car.
- If you see something that needs attention, or a concern, seek Larry out. The public eye helps him a lot!